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The Woman in Red

(1935 b 68')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Wallace Irwin's novel, a polo player marries a horse-woman, who is snubbed by his aristocratic family.

At a horse show Shelby Barrett (Barbara Stanwyck) wins first prize and meets Johnny Wyatt (Gene Raymond). At a party Johnny dances with wealthy Nicko (Genevieve Tobin) and tells Shelby that he likes her. Shelby takes sugar to her horses and finds Johnny in a stall; she gives him a drink. Johnny plays polo, and Shelby advises Nicko to buy a horse. Shelby calls Johnny a "professional amateur." Johnny sings at Shelby's window. She says Nicko loves Johnny, but he says he loves Shelby, who says it won't work because he would lose status. Johnny kisses Shelby, and Nicko sees them. Nicko fires Shelby. Johnny asks Shelby to marry and resigns from polo. Shelby calls Eugene Fairchild (John Eldredge) and sells the horse to him.

Johnny takes Shelby to Wyatville. They arrive in the rain to a cool reception. They need a job, and Shelby suggests boarding horses. The Wyatts complain that Johnny left the polo team, and he is discouraged by their contempt for the project. Shelby shows Johnny the horse that Eugene sent as a wedding present. Shelby gets a letter that her grandfather can't help with money yet. Johnny says they need $9,000, and he mortgaged his land. Shelby says they are partners and should tell each other what they do. Shelby tells Nicko not to gossip about her. Eugene loans Shelby money and asks her to come to his yacht as a favor; but Johnny is away. Nicko sees Shelby go on the yacht. Goodyard (William B. Davidson) arrives with girl-friend Olga (Dorothy Tree) instead of his wife, and both are drunk. Eugene apologizes to Shelby and says it won't get around. Olga falls overboard. Eugene goes after her, but she drowns.

Shelby offers to testify, but Eugene says no; he got her off the boat without anyone knowing. Ericson testifies that Eugene pushed Olga over. Nicko, Johnny, and Shelby discuss the case. Nicko says a woman in a red coat could clear Eugene. Finally Shelby tells the Wyatts she was the woman in red. Shelby testifies that Olga fell by accident. The Wyatts come in. Shelby admits Eugene loaned her money for business. Johnny tells the press that he knew Shelby was on the yacht. The case is dismissed, and Eugene thanks Shelby, who says she did it for herself, though she fears she lost Johnny. Johnny tells Shelby to get in the car and confirms their close partnership with a kiss.

This romantic drama explores the economic and social struggles of a young couple facing the snobs of his family, who are unwilling to help them. Shelby did not keep her word to tell him what she did; but her motives were good, and their love for each other proved strong.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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